The Premiers

From Bhamwiki
Jump to: navigation, search

The Premiers (originally The Satellites) were a rock band formed in 1956 by Dale Karrah, Howard Tennyson, and Bo Reynolds, along with a drummer known only as Skeet. The band changed their name to match the "Premiere" brand name on Skeet's bass drum.

The group debuted at Fairfield High School and went on to play at the Hickory Pit and the Madison Night Spot on Bessemer Super Highway. Larry Graves, an aspiring guitarist, was asked to fill in after Skeet's departure and became the group's new drummer. Pat Thornton, an accomplished piano student, was soon invited to join the group, which practiced in his garage on 41st Street in Fairfield.

After a rough time lugging their piano up a flight of stairs to perform at the Bessemer Moose Lodge, Thornton bought a Wurlitzer Electric Piano. The group was championed by Duke Rumore who booked them to open numerous concerts and dances at the Ensley Armory. They made a landmark live recording there in 1961 of "Are You Alright?" where the audience's refrain "well, yeah!" was clearly rendered as the more shocking "Hell, yeah!". The group released a single, "Oogsy-Moo"/"Locomotive" on Bigtop Records in 1961.

The next few years saw the Premiers touring colleges around the South with occasional larger shows in Atlanta and Memphis. Memorably, they opened for Bo Diddley at Memphis' Cadillac Club. The group gradually broke apart during the 1960s as the members moved on, but frequently reunited for special events.

The Premiers were inducted into the Birmingham Record Collectors Hall of Fame in 2008.

References